LA Phil’s Chamber Music Concert “Robert and Clara Schumann” 1/30/13

January 30, 2013

We had a chamber music concert on the theme of “Robert and Clara Schumann’s music” on Tuesday January 29. It was a wonderful program to play and listen. I was on Clara’s Piano Trio. Other 3 pieces were Robert’s Piano Quintet, Op. 44 and Märchenbilder, Op. 113, and Clara’s Three Romances, Op. 22.

Clara was known to be a virtuoso pianist, Franz Liszt even commented her exceptional talent, as a pianist and a composer. You may know about the famous love story between Clara Wieck and Robert Schumann. For instance, Robert wrote so many beautiful songs in 1840, the year they got married.  He dedicated so many pieces for her, she promoted his music, we often hear the sound of “Clara” in Robert’s music, like in Robert’s cello concerto.  I understand Clara lost her confidence in composing after she heard Robert’s piano trio. But it is a great discovery for me to play her piano trio. I feel her beautiful mind in this piece. Also it is interesting to find she had huge hands. The piano part has so many 10th and big leaps, written for a big hands piano player! Brahms’ piano parts in his chamber music are known to be the same way. And I discovered Clara’s piano part is equally difficult with Brahms’ for mid-size hands player. An adjustment for the fingerings is needed for us. I have performed both Märchenbilder and Piano Quintet in the past, and I have personal thoughts in those pieces.

After I performed, I stayed and listened the rest of the concert. It was wonderful. Three Romances by Clara has different expression than our piano trio. They are light hearted, very charming. The concept of “Romance” was Clara’s favorite form to compose. It is one of the last pieces she wrote before Robert’s death. I mentioned before that Romantic Period when Schumanns, Brahms, Mendelssohn, and Liszt were corresponding and influencing each other is one of my favorite time in the music history. I love to imagine how they were working together, inspiring, arguing, loving, supporting, influencing… An imagination keeps going. It was a special night for me to be a part of Schumann Chamber Music Festival.

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